Category Archives: Five Stars

Out of Wedlock

Out of Wedlock by Larry Lockridge masterfully weaves the intricate tale of Jess Freeman and his interactions with a diverse cast of characters over the span of two decades. This compelling narrative delves into the complex relationships among six individuals as they grapple with their pasts and strive for acceptance or liberation from their habits. Jess, a plastic surgeon, finds himself on an unintended voyage of self-discovery, attempting to reconcile the fragments of his childhood and comprehend the origins of his dissociative visions.

Lockridge expertly guides readers through a labyrinthine journey punctuated by moments of raw humor and unforeseen twists, all while inciting contemplation on life and the intricacies of human behavior. The plot is consistently captivating, as Out of Wedlock artfully balances the peculiar, the passionate, the enigmatic, and the emotional, all while maintaining an accessible and engaging tone. Readers will undoubtedly be enthralled by the novel’s unpredictable turns and thought-provoking scenarios.

Out of Wedlock not only raises profound questions about human identity and the interplay between nature and nurture, but it also serves as a cultural excursion. Set against the backdrops of Santa Fe and Greenwich Village, the novel is peppered with fascinating tidbits about the region’s culture, history, and notable figures. Although some references may prompt readers to pause for research, this educational aspect ultimately enriches the reading experience.

A particularly endearing feature of the novel is the inclusion of an illustration at the conclusion of each chapter. These artistic embellishments lend a nostalgic air to the narrative and enhance the overall storytelling. Out of Wedlock culminates in a satisfying denouement, resolving the individual arcs of each character and emphasizing the significance of authenticity amidst a world of reinvention.

Out of Wedlock comes highly recommended for readers who seek a narrative that is at once witty, startling, and provocative. Embrace the unexpected and prepare to be thoroughly entertained by this exceptional literary work.

Pages: 215 | ASIN: B0B6NTSHSW

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The Broken Bridge

The Broken Bridge by Iris March is a cozy mystery that captured my attention from the very first page. Following the story of Molly, the succulent sleuth as she tries to uncover the truth behind the disappearance of an out-of-town college student who visited her plant shop, the book promises a riveting read.

As the plot unfolds, the story delves deeper into the mystery, and Molly’s journey to find out what happened becomes all the more engaging. With the discovery of a gold earring and her cousin’s possible involvement, the twists and turns in the plot keep the reader hooked till the very end. Furthermore, the strange behavior of her editor adds an extra layer of intrigue to the story.

The Broken Bridge is a warm-hearted mystery that offers not only a thrilling read but also a charming and informative one. Author Iris March has done an excellent job in crafting an easy-to-read page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I think this is one of the best books I have read this year so far.

This intriguing crime fiction story is highly recommended for anyone who loves mystery novels with a heart, plants, and small-town friendships. The story is so well-written that it makes you feel like you are right in the middle of it all. I cannot wait for Molly and her friends to take on more cozy mysteries in my home state of Ohio.

Pages: 220 | ASIN: B09Y89HS5W

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Hungry Trails

In Hungry Trails, author Maire Malone masterfully weaves an evocative tale of an Irish family’s desperate journey to escape the devastating effects of famine and disease. As they navigate the tumultuous waters of a world turned upside down, the Foley family is tested, their bonds of kinship and friendship strained to their limits. What awaits them across the ocean in the New World, however, remains uncertain—will the foreign shores offer them refuge, or will they merely exchange one set of hardships for another?

Narrated through the eyes of Julie Foley, the family’s spirited and inquisitive daughter, Hungry Trails presents a poignant coming-of-age story that explores themes of self-discovery, resilience, and familial sacrifice. Despite the relentless adversity that befalls her loved ones, Julie remains steadfast in her pursuit of knowledge and her quest to forge her own path in life. Her unwavering dedication to her family and her unyielding optimism drives the narrative forward as readers eagerly anticipate whether Julie will ultimately find the fulfillment she seeks.

Set against the sweeping backdrop of historical events, Hungry Trails is a must-read for those who appreciate intricately crafted stories that transport the reader to another time and place. Malone’s exquisite prose and rich descriptions paint vivid images of the characters and their surroundings, immersing readers in the trials and tribulations of the Foley family. Accessible and engaging, Hungry Trails is a highly recommended read for discerning readers of all ages who are seeking an unforgettable literary journey.

Pages: 280 | ASIN: B0BPDXV3FH

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The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen

The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen by Cameron A. Straughan is a collection of twenty-three chronological short stories about the day-to-day life of Anthony Zen. As illogical as this book may seem, the character is not fazed by the absurd adventures he has to face on a daily basis. Anthony is a man who runs to work without pants, owns a cat named Monty that rings, and finds this wacky behavior normal. This humorous tale of a man who lives his life to the fullest is wildly creative and entertaining. This eccentric story is full of shenanigans and outrageous creatures. It is a creative tale with backward logic that makes you laugh.

The book is brimming with wildly imaginative shenanigans and outrageous creatures that are sure to keep readers entertained. The writing is sophisticated and free of grammatical errors, making it a joy to read. Although I think the book would benefit from illustrations, the quality of the writing and the depth of the characters is enough to engage readers and take them on a journey through Anthony’s surreal world.

While most books with eccentric worlds have a set of rules that guide the reader, The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen does not. The author adds details seemingly at random, leaving readers in a state of anticipation, never knowing what to expect next. This unpredictability adds to the entertainment value and keeps readers in suspense.

The book’s structure is broken up in a way where each chapter functions as its own individual story, but the book consistently follows Anthony’s overall narrative. This non-traditional approach to storytelling is refreshing and makes the book stand out.

The Surreal Adventures of Anthony Zen is a well-written and creative book that offers a unique take on storytelling. It is certainly an enjoyable one that will leave readers both amused and engaged.

Pages: 191 | ASIN : B088LQF344

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The Healing Book

The Healing Book: A Collection of Short Stories, authored by Dustin Grinnell, is a poignant anthology that takes readers on a journey alongside diverse characters as they confront personal challenges and seek a deeper sense of purpose. Comprising thirteen compelling short stories, this collection delves into various themes, ranging from the discovery of one’s own voice to providing solace to someone who may not be healed.

A standout story in the collection, titled The Healing Book, tells the tale of Dr. David Mitchel, a surgeon grappling with his wife’s cancer diagnosis. As he exhaustively explores every possible avenue to help her combat the disease, from conventional medical treatments to holistic practices and the transformative power of literature, he eventually comes to terms with the painful reality of her passing. Through this story, Grinnell masterfully captures the emotional turmoil faced by countless individuals affected by cancer.

The author’s writing style strikes a delicate balance between scientific grounding and a thought-provoking exploration of morality. Drawing upon his background in Western medicine, Grinnell deftly showcases the complexities of the human experience, posing challenging questions and confronting difficult issues with sensitivity and courage. Each short story is thoroughly engaging, marked by well-developed characters and insightful examinations of human nature.

A unifying thread that runs through the collection is the characters’ pursuit of spiritual healing. These relatable, evocative tales will resonate with readers on a deeply personal level. I am pleased to have read this captivating and thought-provoking book, and I highly recommend it to anyone seeking empathetic, introspective, and engaging stories.

An Accidental Parisian

In An Accidental Parisian, Juliet Young shares a riveting memoir chronicling her life from childhood to becoming an expat in Paris. Despite her desire to return to Toronto near her parents, unforeseen circumstances led her to stay in a foreign country much longer than she had planned. Young candidly shares the highs and lows of her life journey, including the romantic and tragic moments that shaped her into the woman she is today.

The memoir provides a rare insight into the cultural elements of Paris throughout the 90s and early 2000s. From Young’s early life to her first few visits to Europe and eventually settling in Paris, the book takes the reader on a personal journey. Young’s writing style is friendly, creating the impression of a personal conversation rather than a mere collection of events. In addition, her depiction of French culture is detailed, revealing the city’s patriarchal nature through the eyes of a feminist expat.

Throughout her adventurous life, Young never lost her courageous spirit, whether she was in Toronto or Paris. Instead, she shares her grief openly as she reminisces about her beautiful childhood and loving parents. Despite initially intending to return to her home country, France became her permanent residence, and this memoir details the events that led her to that point.

Juliet Young’s memoir is a captivating and inspiring read that takes readers on a remarkable journey of self-discovery and adaptation to a foreign culture. An Accidental Parisian is sure to engage and inspire readers and is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a compelling memoir.

Pages: 302 | ASIN : B09Z333JQ1

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Break Heart Canyon

Una MacLaren is a fiercely independent woman and widow. When her beloved husband suffers an accident in Break Heart Canyon, she concludes her life is just another story to add to the depressing legacy of the canyon. Preferring the company of her goats and her dog MacTavish she works her farm and keeps to herself for the most part. That is, until a relic hunter appears uninvited and unwanted on her property. Ryker is unlike the other bone hunters who try to pilfer the spirit cave on her property. Slowly the two of them work their way into each other’s lives, with a bit of help from Whiskey Jim, the mysterious wonder that seems to know everything that goes on in this town.

Break Heart Canyon by Gini Rifkin is more than a western romance novel. It is the story of Native American legends, Scottish heritage, and self-discovery. Ryker is the loner, never staying anywhere long, just long enough to get the job done and get paid. But, it is in the canyon and after meeting Una, he starts to realize there is more to life and adventure can come in many forms. Una learns that she doesn’t always have to be strong and it is ok to love more than once in a lifetime. Together they find the missing pieces of themselves and help solve a long-standing mystery that has plagued the town.

Rifkin’s writing style pulls the reader in, giving them rich characters that, in order to get to know the real person, you have to keep reading. Even the minor characters are well-developed and are used to show added depth and personality to the protagonists. Intertwined in the story is the mystery surrounding the cave and the events that have happened in the canyon. The mystery plays out well and leaves some wonderful surprises for the reader to discover.

Break Heart Canyon is a captivating historical romance filled with legend and lore that will have readers unable to put the book down. Each chapter gives the reader something new to think about, leading them deeper into a world they were not expecting. This is the perfect read for those that want romance with their adventure.

Pages: 196 | ASIN : B0B4Z39G9X

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Joseph W. Taylor BORN TO BIRD

Joseph W. Taylor: Born to Bird is an engaging biography penned by Anne Taylor, chronicling the life and passions of her father, Joseph Taylor. The book delves into Joseph’s deep love for birds, nature, and conservation, showcasing his significant impact on Anne’s life. Set against the backdrop of the idyllic mid-20th century, the narrative is captivating and nostalgic, as Anne Taylor’s conversational tone draws the reader into her family’s rich experiences and lessons learned.

Ornithology serves as the book’s focal point, with Anne introducing readers to the fascinating world of birding through her father’s eyes. As the story unfolds, she recounts Joseph’s involvement with the prestigious 600 Club, a birdwatching group dedicated to research, conservation, and the joy of birding. The narrative is imbued with Anne’s admiration and affection for her father as she shares the passion and enthusiasm that fueled the club’s members.

Complementing the vivid storytelling are a collection of stunning photographs featuring color and black-and-white images of Joseph Taylor, his family, and his birding adventures. The meticulously captioned and dated photographs offer a visual journey through Joseph’s life, from his early years to his later excursions to breathtaking locations such as Alaska, Newfoundland, New Mexico, Nova Scotia, and Florida.

Despite Joseph’s challenges in his later years, Anne Taylor’s account of her father’s life is a testament to his resilience, love for nature, and commitment to family. The narrative, interspersed with uplifting moments and valuable life lessons, pays tribute to Joseph’s lasting legacy within the birding community. His dedication to preserving the natural world and treasuring family bonds remains an enduring message that resonates with readers.

With its compelling narration, intriguing insights into 20th-century ornithology, and heartwarming stories, Joseph W. Taylor: Born to Bird is a must-read biography for those seeking a captivating journey into the life of a remarkable individual and the enchanting world of birds.

Pages: 290 | ASIN : B0BWLWNHJQ

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